Coming into the 2023 NFL Combine, the performance from Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald is still considered one for the ages. In 2014, Donald’s 4.68 40-yard dash ranked in the 98th percentile. His broad jump and three-cone drill each ranked above the 95th percentile as well.
It’s still a mystery that Donald fell all the way to the Rams at 13th overall simply because of his size.
This year at the NFL Combine, it’s another Pitt defensive lineman grabbing attention. On Thursday, Calijiah Kancey posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.67. It was the fastest for a defensive tackle since 2003. Kancey beat it on his second run, but this side-by-side of Donald and Kancey posted by the NFL is pretty cool.
Couple of @Pitt_FB DLs on the Simulcam. @Ckancey8 | @AaronDonald97— NFL (@NFL) March 2, 2023
: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/0y224YXeA5
The Rams don’t have a huge need for a defensive lineman of Kancey’s stature, but they didn’t need one when they drafted Donald either. Kancey and Donald are both very similarly built.
Calijah Kancey's size and athletic profile is comparable to fellow @Pitt_FB defensive tackle Aaron Donald.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 2, 2023
Calijah Kancey ('23)
6'1", 281 lbs, 4.67 40
92 Athleticism Score
Aaron Donald ('14)
6'0 3/4", 285 lbs, 4.68 40
98 Athleticism Score pic.twitter.com/TC6orxKEXF
With that said, it would still be surprising to see the Rams take a defensive lineman in the second round with their first pick at 36. With Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson set to hit free agency, the Rams need someone who can play between the 1T and 3T.
If Kancey is on the table for the Rams, there is a slim chance that they could select him with the 36th overall pick. In Luke Easterling’s latest mock draft for The Draft Wire, he had Kancey going 37th overall to the Seahawks. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks didn’t have Kancey going in the first round either in his latest mock draft.
After his combine performance, there’s a chance that Kancey could now jump into the first round as his stock rises. Kancey will certainly be a name to watch throughout the rest of the draft process.